Iquebi was hunted, captured and exhibited in public in Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital, as a prey. He then was liberated by Jesuits priests, "christianized",colonized and after 20 years of diaspora went back home to his family and land. This is a story that unfortunately is not alien to most of indigenous cultures. There are similar stories of abuse, displacement and theft by governments and corporations in Canada and around the world. These stories need to be told. The only way to stop the abusers is to denounce and talk about the abuse. The only way that as designers we can decolonize is by creating space for decolonized places.
I shared Iquebi’s story with three wonderful women designers from the Global South and Global North: Marcia Higuchi (Brasil) and Melanie Camman and Professor Dr. Bonne Zabolotney (Canada). These dialogues brought in more reflections and provocations on topics such as white guilt (A.Lorde, 1984), moves to innocence (Tuck and Yang, 2012), white supremacy (M.Lugones,2003), white male dominance. Borderlands (Anzaldua, 2012), Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1996), Sisters solidarity (B.Hooks, 1994), Decolonization (Cusicanqui, 2020), Otherness.
These words turned into keywords that I presented in a series of cards that I called: Transgressing the Binary, White and Colour’d cards (*) They are meant to provoke more dialogues, reflections in the context of workshops and public settings.These cards can be utilized as a sort of alternative tools to give voice to racialized and marginalized people and as a start point to bring in more stories and realities that need to be told and changed in order to restore our world social and ecological balance
(*) I presented the cards at the "Decolonizing Design Working Group" from the Design Justice Network in Feb 2021
In this project I use a methodology that I define as Land-bordering, which captures the transmission of memories and lived experiences as they connect to the land and the intersections that influenced that experience.
To read more about the project please click on the bottom "Colloquies" below.
One of the most beautiful things about the Guaraní language is that it is onomatopoiec.
Words exquisitely represent different sounds in nature. The written Guaraní was developed by the
Spanish colonizers, mainly by the Jesuits misionaries in the 1600s. It was done following the form and grammar of the Spanish language. It was only in 2015, that the Guaraní graphemes and phonemes were decolonized and accepted in the Guaraní Language Academy. Paraguay is a bilingual country, being most of the paraguayan population "mestizo" (metis). The Guaraní language has been part of Paraguayan history as a strong denominator of its cultural identity.
The maps and images included here are excerpts from a collection of drawings done in the late 1800s by French artists who came to Paraguay after the Guerra Grande de la Triple Alianza (the Great War)
of 1870, where Brasil, Argentina and Uruguay fought against Paraguay. This war decimated Paraguayan population to about only 200,000 people, and the country was rebuilt mostly by the women and children that survived. Many "new" colonizers came after the Great War, and yet the Guaraní language prevails and reminds us that the Guaraníes were and are the genuine owners of the Paraguayan land.
I present this work as a moment of reflection and introspection as I rethink my practice in relation to my identity and its cultural and environmental context. It brings me to a place where the Guaraní peoples voice resonates in my soul, talking about better ways of knowing, being and doing in their intrinsic relation to the earth.
(*) I wrote this essay as part of my research studies on Guarani language in 2018-2020
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